Bare with me here I this is kind of long and I'm stuck. How do you avoid creating this type of cliche character people will hate. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MarySue and the http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AntiSue The "Mary Sue / Marty Stu" There are plenty of articles out there saying what not to do but all of the characters in popular culture display like this trope. It sounds like to me more a hater thing. I'm mean look at Batman and the Xmen! Hero's are supposed to not be normal in these genre's it's what defined them above everyone else. That and a great backstory and personality. So some background here before I go any further. I've been doing research and trying to polish my characters up as much as possible. By doing so I've run into many articles all of which suggest I'm damaging my writing... I have a well-developed backstory and personality for all my characters but I can't help but feel the more 3 dimensional I try for the flatter they are according to these articles. And if not flat according to the articles lame and cliched. I do realize some cliches are well hated and some are well-loved, while others have a mixed bag response. I also realize that it's unavoidable to write with out a cliche or two or few, and I know depending on how it's executed can either kill readership or forever endear itself to the readers. To be honest. I'm using my writing as a way to learn and grow from my own personal problems and understand who I am as a person. I have been noticing a trend with some of my characters, they tend to reflect people I know who've had serious problems in their lives. I'm trying to display mental illnesses, abuse, and self-esteem issues. I personally have experience in these categories as well. (Birds of a feather flock together.) (I know I have the capacity to portray it well, having lived through my own problems, going to therapy to understand them, and being around others with similar problems.) Now I know there is a huge stigma against these kinds of characters because I see a lot of hate. (Reasons vary quite a bit.) But what if a well-developed character could tell a story that could inspire people to overcome their own problems. Some of the articles say people have a hard time writing mental illness and depicting it well, which I understand the concern there. Others say it's damaging to a character, but you want your characters to have flaws to overcome or damn them. Make them real and relatable. Okay, one of my characters is based on a friend of mine growing up. Despite having average traits common hair and eye color smaller average chest size. She had the whole beauty is a curse attraction going on. I'm mean let's face it she was hot and she was a fricken 7. People loved her for multiple reasons. (People were drawn to her for her personality, and bad people were drawn to her too. They just wanted to use her and get laid, even if she didn't do these things or did.) She was a great friend she was very sweet and likable, friendly, courageous and would do the right thing even despite her personal short comings. She was an honest person and loyal to a fault. She would render service to others and be kind to those who were less fortunate. She stood up for the nerds and the geeks. She suffered abandonment issues which would isolate her from time to time and coincided with her depression, but could be clingy as well at other times depending on the turmoil in her life. She was but independent in her own ways as well as very co-dependent. (I understand how that can work because she and I had a lot in common, we forged a strong bond through our pain.) Felt extreme guilt and shame underneath for actions done to her, or her own. (The cry for attention actions knowing wrong, feeling damned anyway and doing it. The dreaded guilt cycle.) The only difference was that she started drinking and doing drugs and partying things got out of control and she died. I don't want to present her death in my story I want to present her as overcoming her problems in the end. A beacon of light. I'm overcoming my own problems still and never gave into that ugly side of life. So if anything the character is kind of a mix of both of us. Personality wise she was a good person but struggled with depression, self-esteem issues, that stemmed from abuse and abandonment. (She suffered self-esteem issues and even if people saw her as beautiful, she hated herself and saw herself as ugly. Even if she didn't say it all the time.) This comes from self-esteem and confidence problems. The reason I bring this up is that I loved her and she was a real person with a lot of problems. ("REAL PERSON" running away from problems but wanted to be around people at the same time. The dilemma of fearing rejection and the fear of being alone.) Read some of the mary su articles out there and a lot of people condemn and damn these traits. The reason I found out about a mary su is that I used to watch a lot of anime growing up and heard the term a lot. I looked it up because I was confused. I started to understand why people hated these characters. (I had friends that wrote fanfictions with self-inserts... It's not my thing, but again I'm not dissing it. I always wrote my own things, and I don't think fanfiction is a bad thing because they are still developing skills in writing. I would critique them and help beta read for them when needed.) Here is another example: I don't have time to dig up every article I've read on character development do's and don'ts. To me, it sounds like she's ripping on Twilight. I'm not a fan of Stephanie's works but I'm not going to dis people for liking her either. I'm into fantasy personally and sci-fi. I've never been into romance. I find myself wanting to include it in my story for character development though. I would feel remiss not use such a great plot tool for story telling. While watching this video my husband commented and said those are all characters he's seen in books before and they were executed/created well by many an author. He stated that these were traits he'd seen in real life women as well and that whether or not they were character flaws, there are people like these in the real-world. (My husband used to be a huge tramp and slept with tons of women so he honestly would know.) He also commented that she came across as if she was pulling the louder I am the more correct I am tactic, and further agreed with me that it was targeting twilight and that it was unprofessional for an author to attack another. On one last comment from my husband. They mention flat characters in here that have no personality. My husband says there are real people like that out in the real world as well, and I have to agree with him. He said what if that's what the author wanted? Not condemning her here. She has some great advice as well. I'm not here to start a fight please keep things fair and don't add to hostilities. But with everything I've read online for a real life person with some added fantasy traits for a fantasy story turns quickly into a mary su.... I'm like really confused. I don't want people to hate her, I want them to pity her, love her for who she is, and see that they can learn from her and make their own happiness by overcoming their own problems. I feel like I'm having to defend what I'm doing, which is killing my confidence. Am I just reading into things way too much? Is reading about writing damaging my potential?